A Poem by Louis McNab

Islands and crashing seas, all falls beneath the waves as a lone man, standing on a the half point of a cliff, contemplates life, the universe and the inevitable passage of time.


With heavy mind and aching body I awaken, the flicker of the gas lamp in the early morning my only companion on this cold and desolate island, the howling wind and the cracked rocks offering no warmth and little companionship. Brisk breakfast and food for the mind followed by a slow walk across the whitened cliffs, past the crashing waves and rolling sands ashore, reeds standing tall in defiance of the blackened seas. Stone upon stone collapses as the howl of ruin emerges from the guts of my little desolate isle. And into the guts I shall descend, just before ascending again, lighting a path with candle’s flame and moon’s glow, the distant steel tankers and iron fishing vessels ripping the seas in half, wrecking and rending, burning and trashing, slashing the waves apart, cutting the darkness in two, slicing open a path to the darkest of the dark and yet, the wound closes and the ship moves on, until no trace of neither ship nor sailor is to be found amidst the troubled waters of the isle’s limit.

And the grass is yellowed by age, and the seas are blackened by despair and sea and sky and grass is all I have and all my moment is and none my moment will ever be, my frail body torn asunder by the forces of age and time, haggle and trade the gods over my mortal bones, by candlelight, by the crack of the fireplace, I denote my silence, letter after letter depressed, punch and punch of ink on brittle paper, the blackness raping the fine tissue fibers, forever leaving their mark. The body within a body, the time inside time itself and a single rock, three planets away from a burning orb of nuclear fusion, its gravitational forces as weak as the threads holding our mortal flesh together. And the passing of time is natural, the weakening of the forces at hand as our little ball of dirt slips from its pretend eternal trajectory in the sky, disappearing into the flaming orb, the grass consumed, the dreams aflame and hopes burning high, fueling the tongues of fire. With the fall, my candles disappear, the paper catches fire, my muscles evaporate, my bone charred, my island burns, the yellowed grass and the grey clouds and the winds all swept beneath the boiling oceans, a chasm of infinite solitude and universal sadness, consuming us slowly, our lips never to intermingle again, our bodies to forever stay ash and our souls to mix in with the hundreds of others.

When I reach the half point of the tallest cliff, when you see my effigies in the blue moon’s glow, we shall rest on opposing sides of the great paper, writing with ink and blood until we become waterlogged. We shall intertwine and build, yes construct and invent, with our minds, a paper boat without a bottom, and in it, we shall go to the moon, leaving the iron and steel tankers behind, to rip the seas, to rape the deep just like the ink rapes my fibers, leave the empty, scarred sailors be. And in the deep of the night sky, we shall fish amidst the stars, we shall openly embrace the ignorance of humanity, the petty conflicts and the pointless lines on the maps, and together, hand in hand, we shall rise above it until even the paper that we are made of decays, swirling into the drains of space, disappearing into a mass of ink and blood, ready to be written with again. Hold me and sing to me your songs of moments and your songs of time.

What is a moment but everything and nothing? What are we, the atoms on a speck of dust suspended in a sunbeam, but a moment? A moment passes and a moment comes, infatuating us with the promises of future endeavors and times past, pushing us forward while our minds drift backwards daily. The moment is at hand, and you break the golden band, collapsing in on yourself, swirling into the drain, ink and blood, ship and flood, on the shores of time, no reason or rhyme. Forget your moments; lose yourself in everything and nothing. Become all and stay none, accept everyone and share everything, open your mind and reveal your mortal bones, love and live, breathe and die, wither, wither and fade into the earth and the grass.  Ship of fools, work for work and only for work, sit type, consume, die and goodbye, farewell, farewell, we shall forget you. Cuts of water, waves darken, rip in half, shred and rend, and swallow you, into the chasm you made, beneath the half point crescent, until you are no more, until it closes down on you. The sailor sees the void, he runs the ship, he opens and closes the guts of the earth, his face as cut and as shapely as the scars of the earth itself. He is the human condition in person, he is the epitome of our pointless little competitions and our ruinous races, opening wounds, closing them in the seas and yet, the wrinkles and wounds, the abysses and the chasms of his face stay, reminding him of his mortality.

Tartarus and Paradise have been lost to mind and memory, atomized by our hatred and our war, our destruction finally complete. No soul is present anymore, no mind, no trace of life, just dust and rocks and flame, ruin and twisted metal representing the last breaths of a dying, unsustainable world. End it all, with a whimper and not a bang, with no more fuss than the coming of fall after a sunny summer’s day. No songs will be sung about our departure, no stories shall be written, no games played, just the endless silence and the slow cracking of the Geiger to remind us that we ever were anything more than a simple speck of dust in the great universal order of things, that our massive bombs, our spears of nuclear fire, delivering redemption from the heavens above, were nothing but tiny, manmade whimpers, the great darkness of deep space tolerating no pleads and no faint echoes, only dust and debris. Rivers lay evaporated, fish disappear, houses rot, corpses aflame, cars in piles and entire cities howling with the voices of a thousand desperate corpses, begging to the everlasting stars that still hang in the sky, even in the wake of destruction, undisturbed, untouched, uncaring.

And yet, I stand here, above the blackened sea, below the grey sky, besides the bending reeds and the slowly rocking metal hulks that sit in the long-derelict harbors, singing my songs to an invisible moon, asking for just a bit of life, a speck of the universal order of things. I want to know how it comes together, I want to know the real world inside and out, from the smallest cell to the largest whale, from the tiniest atom to the biggest of mountains, just so that I avoid the destruction of the mind, the destruction of the body, the destruction of morals and the ultimate destruction of myself. Aye, have your nuclear fire, have your flame and flicker, have your cries and screams, take your cities and your twisted metal and your skies aflame and by all means, leave me my island. I shall have none of your arrogance, none of your pointless religion, none of your petty power struggles and none of the barren deserts of your souls. Leave me, the poet, some of the lush trees, if you do not desire them. Leave me, the madman, the seas, the grasses, the cliffs and the grey skies and leave me. And when the spears of fire rain from the skies, and when all the ships rip the sea in half the one final time, when your cars and your buses drive no more, when there is no more glass and hate, encased in steel, call me and ask me why I did not warn you. Ask me why you let the furnaces of hatred burn and ask me why you let the tongues of greed touch you, and ask me, the madman, the isolated one, and the crazy one, what you ever did to stop it.

And I shall remain silent, watching the seas, as always, alone.

© 2013 Louis McNab

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Added on November 15, 2012
Last Updated on February 7, 2013
Tags: death, time, meaning of life, passage of time, the apocalypse, death of the soul, island, loneliness, being alone, contemplation, thinking, philosphy, peace of mind, meditation


Louis McNab
Louis McNab


I'm a 17 year old prog rocker, soon-to-be college student (hopefully) and chain smoker who writes anything at all, really. Q: Can I use some of your *anything at all ever* A: Sure, I don't real.. more..